Do you ever have the feeling that you are hiding from life?

Playing it safe so you don’t have to face what it’s really about?

You are not alone. Many people are running away from stuff. They hide in secure jobs, vegge out on the couch or in front of the TV – terrified to get to the bottom of their true desires.

Some bury themselves in excruciating workloads and responsibilities. They literally don’t have time to come up for air. To feel their needs and to experience what it means to be alive.

Our daily grind makes this easy. Constant distractions and all day entertainment keeps us so busy that we have grown uncomfortable with being still. We are afraid we won’t be able to manage the silence or – even worse – we won’t like what we see or who we turn out to be once we stop.

I put this to the test some years ago. I stopped the daily fight for attention, money, success and feel good rewards. I dropped the pretense.

At first, it felt awful. I felt wrong. There was a constant urge to ‘do’ something. To be busy. To feel important. Then, emotions took over. Once I stopped holding it all together, the tears started to flow. I cried, I wept, I sobbed. It felt good. I felt sad and happy at the same time. It was a relief to let go. I cried for all the hard work I had put in to impress people, for the time I had missed being me. For treating others badly, for being selfish, for everything I pretended to be but wasn’t. In between bursts of embarrassment and the worry that I had gone off the deep end, I could feel a deep release. It was a sweet sensation. Mixed with feelings of self-pity and sadness there was a joy that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid.

Once the tears dried up, I got really angry. Furious. Enraged, mad. First, at myself and at my life and how I was wasting it, then, at everybody else in it. I let it rip, didn’t control my outburst. It was childish, embarrassing, senseless and I didn’t care. My resentment at all of life was alive. It was a spectacle. I beat pillows, I raged, I screamed. I remember wondering if this was my dark side lurking its head and if I could take facing it. So, I went looking for it: Come on, let’s see how mean and angry you really are. Stop hiding behind all this veneer of niceness.

As the anger dwindled a wave of tiredness overcame me. I felt exhausted and calm at the same time. If this was my evil self, I could handle it. There was nothing to be ashamed of. Just a little kid with a tantrum. I realized that I had been afraid to take a good look, worried that I wouldn’t like what I’d see. But this wasn’t that bad. I could live with this person. I could even like her.

Don’t be afraid to go looking for yourself. Be silent. Be still. And see what happens. You don’t have to throw a tantrum. Just don’t back away when the fear comes up. Embrace your emotions. Feel them. They are not bad and you are not bad for having them. You may find that you are much more lovable than you thought. You may gain a lot of compassion for yourself, for your fears as well as for your dreams and desires. For your amazingness.

For me, this was the beginning of a love affair – with myself, my life and everyone in it.


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Photo Source: Death to the Stock Photo